Isn't it nice when we can all get along? After decades of rift between the FIA (which governs such premier racing series as F1, the WRC and the WTCC) and the ACO (which organizes Le Mans and its related series), the two have gotten together to form the new FIA World Endurance Championship.
The rapprochement is widely credited to FIA President Jean Todt, who lead Peugeot's factory team to victory at Le Mans before running the Scuderia Ferrari. After the initial announcement a few days ago, Todt and his ACO counterpart Jean-Claude Plassart held a press conference just two days before the start of this year's 24-hour race at La Sarthe to announce further details on what we can expect from the new series.
For starters, it would appear that the FIA World Endurance Championship will replace both the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2012, basing the new calendar on the ILMC's current season now underway. The official calendar will be announced in the fall, and will consist of seven races of at least six hours each: two in the United States (likely Sebring and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta), two in Asia (probably in China and Abu Dhabi) and three in Europe (including Le Mans and two others – we'd guess Spa and Silverstone).
Points will be awarded on the same scale used in all FIA championships, awarding 25 points for first place, 18 for second, 15 for third, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point for tenth place. The headline 24 Hours of Le Mans, however, will be worth double points towards the titles. The classes will follow the ACO's formula, consisting of LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro ad GTE Amateur. For more details check out the full announcement after the jump.
The FIA World Endurance Championship is unveiled!
Today, Thursday 10th June Jean-Claude Plassart, Président of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Jean Todt, Président of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile presented the 2012 World Endurance Chaamionship in greater detail.
This presentation was made during the ACO Press Conference on today 9th June, two days before the start of the 79e Le Mans 24 Hours. Both presidents took advantage of this occasion to unveil the main guide lines of the future championship.
The l'Automobile Club de l'Ouest will be the promoter of the FIA World Endurance Championship. A three-year contract has been signed between the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. When this expires the future contract will link the two parties for ten years.
The calendar of the current series, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, will form the base for the 2012 season. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest has committed to integrating the Le Mans 24 hours into this calendar. The event, however, will remain the exclusive property of the ACO and will not be included in this agreement.
The 2012 season will consist of six events plus the Le Mans 24 Hours, a total of seven races.
Two events will take place on the American continent, two in Europe (not counting the Le Mans 24 Hours) and two on the Asian continent.
Each event will last six hours minimum.
The final calendar drawn up with the validation of the FIA will be published in the autumn.
Two titles, three trophies and a World Cup will be awarded
- Manufacturers' World Endurance Champion
- Drivers' World Endurance Champion
- GTE World Cup (Endurance Grand Touring) Pro
- FIA LM P2 Trophy
- FIA GTE Am Trophy
- FIA Trophy for the best private team.
The points awarded at the end of each event will be the same as those in the other FIA World Championships.
However, please note that double points will be awarded for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
For private teams it will not be more costly to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship than the present ILMC and their efforts will be rewarded by a Trophy.
The World Endurance Championship will be open to for categories identical to those eligible for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the ILMC :
- Le Mans Prototype 1 (LM P1)
- Le Mans Prototype 2 (LM P2)
- Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Pro (LM GTE Pro)
- Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Am (LM GTE Am)
TECHNCAL AND SPORTING REGULATIONS
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest's 2011-2013 technical and sporting regulations will govern the Endurance World Championship under the responsibility of Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO sports manager.
The organization of the Endurance World Championship will be based on the current Intercontinental Le Mans Cup group, a branch of the ACO, headed by Frédéric Henry-Biabaud, the ILMC general manager.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest will be responsible for the sporting, technical, marketing and communications operations.